Swiss watchmaker Blancpain’s CHF150,000 ($151,884) watch featuring the Hindu elephant-headed God Ganesh has won the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in the artistic crafts category.
Blancpain’s Ganesh watch won the GPHG Artistic Crafts Watch Prize for its use of the Japanese Shakudō alloy made of gold and copper, which was once used in samurai sword handles. The Shakudō alloy is then given a characteristic black patina by applying a solution called Rokushō.
Blancpain also won artistic merit for its use of the damascene technique, which involves fashioning troughs upon the watch dial surface, into which fine threads gold are painstakingly hammered and then hand-engraved.
“We have four different models that are made with these traditional techniques but we entered the Ganesh model into the competition because we felt it was the most elaborate one,” a Blancpain spokesperson told swissinfo.ch.
The supreme GPHG distinction went to independent watchmaker Greubel Forsey who won the coveted Golden Hand award (Aiguille d’Or) for their CHF290,000 Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision watch.
GPHG is widely regarded as the Oscars of watchmaking and some of the best watch brands compete to win in over a dozen categories. The jury for the competition includes some of the most prominent figures in the watch world, as well as celebrity watch connoisseurs like drummer Eric Singer from the rock band Kiss. The winning watches tour the world, offering publicity for the brands and a spectacle for watch lovers.